I HIRED A CONTRACTOR TO RENOVATE MY HOUSE AND LATER FOUND OUT THAT HE IS UNLICENSED, WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?
In the District of Columbia, a contractor performing “home improvement work” must possess a home improvement license or home improvement salesperson license. “Home improvement work” is defined as “the addition to or alteration, conversion, improvement, modernization, remodeling, repair, or replacement of a residential property…” 16 DCMR § 899.1. This broad definition encompasses nearly everything other than new home construction. Pursuant to 16 DCMR § 800.1 of the home improvement regulations:
No person shall require or accept any payment for a home improvement contract to be undertaken in the District in advance of the full completion of all work required to be performed under the contract, unless that person is licensed as a home improvement contractor or as a licensed salesperson employed by a licensed contractor in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
A contractor that does not possess a home improvement license or home improvement salesperson license and accepts advance payment(s) from a homeowner prior to project completion may be in violation of the District of Columbia’s home improvement regulations resulting in “disgorgement” of all funds received from the homeowner. The “disgorgement rule” refers to the contractor returning all money received from the homeowner. Under DC law, a homeowner who paid an unlicensed home improvement contractor for home improvement work is entitled to the return of all funds paid to the contractor in connection with the project. DC Courts have enforced the disgorgement rule against unlicensed contractors for over thirty (30) years.
If you are a homeowner in the District of Columbia and discovered that your contractor did not possess a home improvement license or home improvement salesperson license you should consider consulting an attorney with experience with DC’s home improvement laws and disgorgement claims, 16 DCMR § 800 et seq. The home improvement regulations can be found at the following link: Dowload Here
Mike Bramnick has significant experience and knowledge regarding contractor violations of the DC home improvement regulations and has litigated numerous cases involving the issue. If you believe you have a claim against an unlicensed home improvement contractor contact Mike today for a consultation by calling (301) 547-3647 or by email at Mbramnick@BramnickCreed.com.